Anyone interested in Queen Elizabeth II should pick up "Elizabeth the Queen : the life of a modern monarch" by Sally Bedell Smith. SLCL has it in multiple formats (book, large print book, book on CD and eAudiobook.) It's hefty at 600+ pages. Don't expect to hear anything shocking about her majesty, unless you find it shocking to know she stores her breakfast cereal in Tupperware. This is a decidedly pro-monarchy view of Queen Elizabeth that seems bent on making us believe she's just like you and me.
Well, she isn't and everybody knows it, so the author tries a bit too hard on that front. She may like to barbeque, but she still takes her own gold plates with her when she dines at the home of friends.
The author does two things well. She explores the relationship between Elizabeth II and her husband, Prince Philip. Known mostly for his spontaneous, not-so-very bon mots, Philip is a bird in a gilded cage. He also happens to be an indispensible advisor to his wife, according to Smith. The author also interviews plenty of people who have met the Queen, an unlikely prospect for you and me. Elizabeth II is a gifted conversationalist who knows how to put mortals at ease unlike her father, King George VI.
The book also gives plenty of evidence of Queen Elizabeth's devotion to duty. Bedecked with jewels she may be, but that would not make it any easier to be on public display 11 months of the year wearing a hat and brightly colored frock. Not for the likes of me, anyway.
--Julie C., Headquarters